Dead Souls

gogol

(by Nikolai Gogol) Gogol was no Dante. He could not legislate in his novels. But he pinned sinners more lethally than most and the wild scheme to buy and sell the dead, today, looks a lot like dealing in derivatives. The dead souls were peasants who had passed on between official census, and hence you incurred their holding costs (tax) till they were officially designated as dead at the next census. The protagonist, Chichikov, would acquire those dead souls, thereby assuming the tax burden of them, but he would mortgage them as live souls till the next census. Priestley wrote “On…

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Dead Man

November 3, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
deadman

(dir. Jim Jarmusch) (1996) Johnny Depp rides again, or should it be sails, into the sunset, only this time, weird works. [As Depp Indian films go, this is as good as The Lone Ranger is execrable…]

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The Count of Monte Cristo

dumas

(by Alexandre Dumas) A turgid but absorbing boys’- own revenge yarn.

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Clarissa

clarissa

(by Samuel Richardson) (1748) The Varnished Culture mentions this merely to brag: longer than War and Peace (it’s the longest novel in English at approximately 984,870 words), this account of virtue chased and trashed is the novel’s version of continuous cricket: mad in detail, slow in execution, passionately related. Told in letters, very long letters, the correspondents spend what seems a year recalling a year but a crowded year. Take this book to a desert island; it will endure and also make a crackling blaze. Coleridge nailed Richardson’s “close, hot, day-dreamy continuity” and Priestley (in Literature and Western Man) commented:…

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A Confederacy of Dunces

confederacy of dunces

(by John Kennedy Toole) Lovingly wry story of modern misanthrope, Ignatius J Reilly, a protean and monolithic loser who falls in love, sort of. “Oh, my God, their tongues are probably all over each other’s capped and rotting teeth”.

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